Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It Rained!!

We measured .69" of rain yesterday. Nearly seven tenths isn't enough to restore us to non-drought conditions, but will stave off the early demise of my garden and just make everyone feel better. The children and I stayed at home most of the day being totally non-productive. We played games, read, watched the rain, and did just enough work to keep the farm going. We need a few more days just like yesterday.

I'll write something interesting later, maybe.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Waiting for Rain

I think I have mentioned our drought conditions once or a hundred times. Mull-berry pointed me to this map last year when I was lamenting lack of rain. I complained last year when we were in the yellow area, now we are in the red. Yes, it could be worse, but not much. Anyway, rain has been forecast for this day for days. In fact, the rain should have started last night. Unfortunately, it appears to have moved around us. The system just broke apart and reformed on the other side of us. We did get enough wind from the storm to knock the top out of one of our aging pecan trees. The forecasters are still predicting thunderstorms, the clouds are still thick, and I'm finding it difficult to quit looking at the animated radar over and over, hoping the storm will move right on top of us instead of breaking apart and moving around. Why I feel it necessary to watch the radar, I don't know. There is at least a 15 minute lag in information. I would know it was raining before I saw it on the radar. Crazy, but it makes me feel better.

Monday, June 18, 2007

8 Things

I was tagged by Angela for the 8 Things Meme. She tagged me last week which leads me to NUMBER ONE.

1. I am a procrastinator of the worst sort. I will put off any task until the very last minute then make myself sick worrying whether it will get done on time. I rarely fail, but I don't want my children to learn this terrible way of doing things, so I am trying to be better. But, it is difficult.

2. I was carried out into the Pacific Ocean in a rip-tide. I didn't panic. In fact, in a picture that was taken of my brother and me a little after we arrived ashore nearly a mile down the beach I look downright happy. So does my brother. We obviously thought the whole experience was a great adventure.

3. I've had lots of different jobs in my life including, but not limited to, real estate agent, teacher, veterinary surgical assistant, caterer, and purchasing agent for a hardware store.

4. I have hiked on the Appalachian Trail (GA, TN, NC), The Pacific Crest Trail(WA), The Ice Age Trail(WI), and The Continental Divide Trail (MT) but have never finished any of them. I took Pink Panther on the AT when he was 4 months old, 16 months, and again when he was 6. I took Princess when she was 2. I think they should be able to carry themselves now, so I am planning to hike some more soon.

5. Despite my obsession with natural foods, I will still drink a TAB anytime there is one available. I know Tab is a disgusting can of chemicals, but I have been hopelessly addicted since the first time I drank one to prove I could down the vile tasting beverage when I was 10.

6. I was called a double name until I left for Chicago, at which point I tried to lose it.

7. I had a turkey sandwich almost everyday for lunch for five years.

8. I twirled a rifle in a marching band when I was in high school. I only knocked myself out twice. I can still do a decent job with a broom or bean pole - at least enough to impress my children.

Play along if you like!! I think most of you have been tagged or cannot stand doing memes. Did you participate Z?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

We've Eaten Our Vegetables . . .

May we have some dessert?

During the busy months of Summer, quick vegetable based meals reign. Thursday night we had green beans, corn, and cornbread. Friday at lunch we had pasta with sauteed zucchini and Parmesan. After that my meat loving husband said, "I'm starving. When are we going to have a full meal?" We finally had what he deems a full meal last night - Chicken, grilled over a pecan wood fire (we have lots of pecan left from Katrina), baked sweet potatoes, steamed sugar snap peas, and banana pudding.

Banana pudding is a child friendly recipe. Slicing bananas, layering bananas and cookies, and beating egg whites for the meringue can all be done by even the youngest children while you make sure you don't scorch the custard. My children love kitchen duty, especially when the duty involves dessert preparation.
Banana Pudding

1 cup Sugar
¼ cup Flour
1 pinch Salt
4 cup Milk
8 ea Egg Yolks
1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
12 oz Vanilla Wafers (we used Country Choice Organic)
8 ea Banana -- sliced
8 ea Egg Whites
2 tbsp Sugar

Custard - Mix together 1 cup sugar, flour, and salt. Pour milk into a heavy saucepan and add the flour mixture. Heat. Beat the egg yolks. Pour some of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks and beat briefly. Then, add the egg yolk mixture to the base mixture. Bring slowly to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly and cook slowly until just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Be careful that the custard doesn't scorch. Add vanilla, remove from heat.

Combination - Line bottom and sides of an oven proof dish with vanilla wafers. Layer banana slices and wafers until all are gone. Pour in custard.

Meringue - Preheat oven to 375. Beat egg whites until soft peaks. Add 2 tbsp sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Spread meringue over top of pudding. Bake until browned (about 15 minutes).

BTW, I didn't add food coloring or enhance the image. My eggs are just that yellow.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Blatant and Shameful Gloating

I should be embarrassed, but aren't my beans pretty? I like the yellow of the wax beans with the green of the dill. I've canned a lot of stuff, but this is the first time I have canned beans. I was always scared of botulism. Poisoning my family is not on my Top 10 List of things to do, so I have always frozen my green beans, yet I've never been satisfied with the texture after they've been frozen and that touch of freezer burn as they age is really off putting. So, I started asking around.

Last year a work friend of mine told me about the way she cans beans and I listened. Normally when you can beans you have to use a pressure cooker, but if you add the correct amounts vinegar and sugar to your water, pressure is not needed to maintain a bacteria free jar over time. My last whine before I was convinced was, "I don't want my beans to taste of sugar and vinegar." But if you pour off the liquid and rinse the beans before cooking, you don't have that problem. What you do have are crisp beans tasting of summer. I opened the jar Rachel gave me last night and they were the best one year old beans I have every had.

Rachel's Method of Canning Green Beans
2 gallons beans, snapped
1 gallon water
2 cups vinegar
1 cup sugar

Bring water, sugar, and vinegar to a boil. Throw in your beans and let boil for 30 minutes. Ladle hot beans and liquid in to hot, sterilized jars. Place lids. Let the jars enjoy a hot water bath. Remove them and listen for the pops.

Things to Know
  • You don't have to do two gallons at a time. You can 1/2, 1/4, or double the recipe.
  • Freshly picked beans will retain more flavor and crisp texture.
  • Make sure you remove all flawed pieces or beans.
  • You don't have to cook the beans as long as Rachel recommends, but you do need to cook them some.
  • You may add stuff to your jars for flavor or beauty or both. I added dill to the jars of wax beans and will add lemon slices to the jars of green beans for the sake of beauty. Garlic or chili peppers would be pretty too!
  • Never take a shortcut on jar sterilization. I sterilize my ladle too, because I'm my mother's child.
  • Never pour boiling liquid in a cold jar.
The possibilities are endless. Make something delicious and beautiful today.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

More Harvest Pictures

Peter Pan lost his shadow! Actually this is what I found when I downloaded images from my camera. There were 20 shadow pictures.

Today's harvest included more beans - yellow wax beans and Italian flat beans. Tonight I will have a bean salad or something that will highlight all of the colors and flavors of the beans producing now. My goal was to have different beans at different times during the summer, but scheduling crops is tricky business so I have four beans producing at their peaks at the same time. I am strapped to the canner or snapping beans most of the day.

I am going to make some Dilly Beans for the first time with some of the wax beans. I wouldn't want to get bored. The yellow of the bean, along with the green of the dill and the white of the garlic will be pretty. I may try to leave the beans whole. I'll take a picture if they turn out. If they don't I wouldn't expect a picture of the failure.

These are Princess' blackberries. She picked almost a gallon and they are already frozen. She says she wants to go back tomorrow morning. We could have a cobbler with ice cream.


Frankie at Kitchen Table Learners tagged me for this meme a few days ago. I know it has taken a while to make it here, but here it is. Angela, I'll get to yours today, as well.

The idea with this meme is to play Scattergories with the first letter of your name and these categories. Who wants to play? It is more difficult than it first appears.

1. Famous Singer/Band: Aretha Franklin

2. 4 letter word: Acme

3. Street: Abundance Street

4. Color: Azure

5. Gifts/Presents: Apples

6. Vehicle: Audi

7. Things in a Souvenir Shop: Art

8. Boy Name: Albert

9. Girl Name: Angela

10. Movie Title: As Good As It Gets

11. Drink: Amaretto

12. Occupation: Accountant

13. Celebrity: Alice Cooper

14. Magazine: Allure

15. U.S. City: Atlanta

16. Pro Sports Teams: Anaheim Angels

18. Reason for Being Late for Work: Alarm didn't ring.

19. Something You Throw Away: Ashes

20. Things You Shout: Abracadabra

21. Cartoon Character: Atom Ant

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Day before 6:30

Today, like many others, started early. We needed to wake before the chickens to check a bittie that we were attempting to sneak under a hen. The hen rejected it yesterday. Today was no different. My husband and I moved the water hoses so I can water the garden and orchard, again. We are so dry. So dry that we will move the calf crop across the road to the bottom in the hay field which means that we have given up producing more hay this year. We only cut once, which is highly unusual. Now, the pastures are brown except in the bottoms. Since we sold our calves last week for delivery next month, we have to maintain their weight which means moving them to the only good grass we have and starting to feed hay. My husband will open the gate as soon as he gets back from berry picking with Princess.

Blackberries are ripe!! The only berries worth eating are on the spring streams. All other berries are so bitter and hard that they will turn your mouth inside out. Mr. W left with Princess at 6 a.m. while I finished maneuvering the water hoses and skimmed the pickles. I had already picked more cucumbers and weeded and de-squash bugged the squash.

What's the point of this narrative of life before 6:30, you ask? Not sure. I suppose I just realized this morning how our schedule has changed because of the heat. Everything that involves moving quickly or standing where the sun shines is now done in the cool of the very early morning. All of the vegetable harvesting, watering (it takes all day), insect squashing, cattle moving, canning, berry picking, pruning, and everything else that produces heat is finished before 10 a.m. when it becomes necessary to begin moving slowly. We have installed a very small window unit in my office and a larger unit in the kitchen, but the goal is to not have to use them much. By taking advantage of the natural rhythms of the day we can stay cooler longer without the air conditioner. By using the air conditioner less we give our bodies a chance to adjust naturally to the heat and can be cooler when it is hot without the aid of air conditioners. There is still a part of me who wants to use the computer (a very hot enterprise) when I want, cook and can when I feel like it, and run around in the heat of the day knowing that whatever I do I can cool myself instantly. Yet, is it really necessary?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Aren't Y'all Lucky

This garden picture was too good not to post, so you get two entries in one day. Think how great the picture would be if my camera was better. When I went to the garden to pick today's bounty (I added a picture of that, too), I heard so many bees that it sounded like a swarm. They were gathering pollen from the corn. Now, many people(experts included) say corn is pollinated by the wind, but those people have never stood in my garden and watched the bees completely work the corn. My son noticed bee activity in the corn a few days ago, but today the bees were so loud and so many that I called for the camera. With so many bees around, I felt sure I could get a focused picture. I wanted to show the pollen packs of the legs of the bees. I didn't get that picture, but look at this bee collecting. The yellow on her back legs is pollen. After a while she will have huge yellow thighs, temporarily of course.

Here is the haul for the day - French filet beans and patty pan squash. Obviously there are more beans today than my family can eat in a single sitting so I will share with my sisters or mother. I don't like the way these beans freeze or can. They have such a nice texture and flavor when lightly cooked that I find I am disappointed when I eat these same beans cooked to death - blanched, hot water bathed or frozen, then reheated. I grow these beans to eat in the summer and the rattlesnake beans for canning.

Patty Pan Squash Recipes

I hope your squash didn't spoil while waiting on a recipe. I needed to get permission to use the recipe I wanted to share. I wouldn't want to share anybody's secrets. My mother says I want to share everyone's recipes except my own. She may be correct. Here is the story.

A few years ago, my momma said she wished she could find some green tinted patty pan squash so she could make Mrs. Turner's Squash Skillet. Mrs. Turner is an older lady in town who was originally from somewhere else. She had some different ways of doing things than many of the people who were born and raised here. One of those different ways was planting patty pan squash when everyone else here only planted yellow squash. Mrs. Turner once shared her squash and recipe with my mother. I, of course, found seeds and planted them. When the squash was ready, I shared it with Mrs. Turner and momma and she shared the recipe with me. Here is that recipe.
Mrs. Turner's Squash Skillet

½ cup Onion -- chopped
½ cup Pepper, Bell -- chopped
2 cup Squash, Patty Pan -- cubed
2 med Tomatoes -- quartered or smaller
2 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Sugar
¼ tsp Pepper, Black
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Flour, Plain

Saute onion and green pepper in butter. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add squash and tomatoes and cook only until tender.

You can tell that this is a truly Southern recipe because sugar is added to vegetables. Sugar is added to everything here, EXCEPT the cornbread. Cornbread, by the way, is the perfect accompaniment to this squash dish. Anyway, if you feel uncomfortable adding sugar to vegetables, don't do it or add less, which is what I do. The squash will still be good.

Here are some other things I know about summer squash. You may substitute any summer squash in any summer squash recipe. There will be subtle taste and consistency issues, but the recipe will not fail or taste terrible. With that in mind here is one of my favorite summer squash recipes. It is good with the patty pan squash. I tried it last year. I copied it from Bay Tables which is a Junior League cookbook of my mother's. See, I'm still not giving any of my recipes. My mother must have been right about me.
Basil Couscous with Summer Squash

2 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup couscous
1 cup zucchini -- 1/4" dice
1 cup squash, yellow -- 1/4" dice
1 cup basil -- slivered
1/4 cup Almonds -- toasted and sliced

Bring the chicken stock and 1 tbsp of olive oil to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in salt and couscous. Remove from heat. Let stand covered for 5 minutes. Saute the zucchini and yellow squash in the remaining oil. Add vegetables, almonds, and basil to couscous and mix well. Serve immediately.
Or carve out centers of zucchini or squash and steam shells. Fill with couscous. Sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds.

These should hold you for now.

Monday, June 11, 2007


And Zinnias are blooming along my garden fences. I planted five varieties of sunflowers. These must be the early bloomers, but I don't know what they are called. I'm weird like that. I scrutinize every seed name and struggle with which to plant, but once it is out there, I couldn't tell you its name to save my life. I do, however, have the ability to go look it up. I will. I found the name and it does actually fit the flower - Big Smile. I do smile when I see it.

The bees are smiling, too. Do you like the way I captured one of my bees on the sunflower? That wasn't the plan, but she was there and wouldn't move even after four or five shots, so I let her stay. What harm is there in shamelessly promoting honey bees?

Carousel Zinnias are beautiful, though not as big as last year's State Fair version (I still have the file in front of me). Every flower has been a different color, so far. There are pink and white, red and yellow, purple and pink, and red and pink. I look at the zinnias first every morning, just to see what pops up next. They, too, make me smile.

The last picture is lunch. Obviously, I haven't cooked it yet, but I picked this mess of rattlesnake beans and zucchini this morning when I picked the cucumbers for pickles. I'll do a little cornbread to go with it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Patty Pan Squash or Little Flying Saucers

Today, I harvested my first patty pan squash. I believe this variety is called Benning's Green, but what it really looks like is an edible flying saucer. I have been tempted in past years to carve some windows or doors, but have resisted. This year, when I get inundated with squash, I might carve one.

I always feel guilty when I waste food. There are so many people who don't have enough that tossing perfectly good produce in the compost or letting it rot on the vine just makes me swoon with remorse. There are not any of those cool, food sharing programs here. What usually happens is that you share or trade produce with others who have plenty, but may not have the same vegetables as you. Sometimes it gets into the right hands.

After my late afternoon tour of my garden, I know that tomorrow I will have to pick rattlesnake beans and start pickles. I have lots of small cucumbers. I don't have dill heads with seeds yet, so these pickles will be Mr. W's Grandmother's Sweet Pickles. I will take pictures and try to keep up with what I do for a second part of the Canning 101 series.

I also have my first sunflower and some zinnias. I'll take a picture tomorrow.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

This is part of my garden. It is where I am when I disappear for a day or two. From the vantage point of this picture, you are unable to see the compost bins that you really don't want to see, the first raised bed (carrots and potatoes, and cantaloupe), half of the second raised bed (lettuce), a quarter of the third raised bed (eggplant), the asparagus that runs along the fence next to the corn, and the zinnias that are in the corner behind me. Oh, the strawberries are beside the little shed that you can't see either. After all this, I realize that my near perfect garden picture leaves much to be desired.

What you do see in the remainder of the third raised bed are the salsa tomatoes (Matt's Wild, Yellow Pear, and Sungold) because you can never be too close to the salsa, and the french filet beans which are our favorite bean for light steaming, sauteing, or eating raw. Next to that is the corn, which has started tasseling. Behind that you see leeks in the second raised bed and squash, dill, and basil in the fourth raised bed.

In the first row after the corn are soybeans and peppers. The second and third row are pink-eye, purple hull peas. The fourth and fifth rows are lima beans, affectionately called butterbeans here. Next, is a row of rattlesnake beans which are great for canning and freezing, then cannellini beans and yellow wax beans for diversity. Following the beans are two half rows of tomatoes and two half rows of cucumbers. Beyond all that are several varieties of sunflowers.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Black Swallowtails

The caterpillars of May 29 have become black swallowtails. My son checked the bee box about mid morning and many of the chrysalises had been evacuated. As the day progressed we found butterflies all over the house. Apparently the Pink Panther had not been overly careful getting the caterpillars into the box.

Four chrysalises remain. I (we) hope we can catch them in the act of emerging. Even though we haven't actually gotten to see them emerge we have all gotten up close and personal as we have released them into the wilds of our yard. Obviously, our yard is not exactly insect friendly with 30 chickens roaming freely, but with our careful assistance the butterflies have emerged, dried, flexed, and flown.

I still want to see the emergence. Should I stay up all night? Is the show worth the lack of sleep?

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Updated: I have added a picture of the "frothy stuff" that you skim and repaired some glaring grammatical errors.

Jove wanted more canning specifics so I will share what I know about jelly as a first installment in Canning 101.

Yesterday, I cooked two batches of plums, adding no water, until they were translucent pulp, transferred pulp to a jelly bag, which in my case is really just a piece of fine mesh gauze, and hung it until all the juice had dripped. You can buy ready made devices and bags for this, but I would rather buy nice knives, All-Clad cookware, or dishes with my kitchen money.

What is important to remember is that if you want crystal clear jelly, don't be tempted to squeeze the bag or even manipulate it much. Sure, you waste a little juice, but if you want Blue Ribbon jelly don't do it! Once the juice is ready you may store it until later (up to 6 months in the freezer or a couple of days in the refrigerator) or begin jelly making immediately.

Before you start cooking the juice, assemble everything you need:
  • Sugar
  • More jars than you think you need because sometimes you miscalculate. Adding a cold jar to boiling water is dangerous and not sterilizing it is scary.
  • The lids and rings or the tops, gaskets, and clamps
  • A canning funnel. I prefer stainless steel everything, especially if doing acidic foods.
  • A ladle, again, stainless steel.
  • A spoon. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, stainless steel is preferred.
  • A candy thermometer (only until you hear and see the correct temperature)
  • A pot for cooking the juice. Choose a wide bottom stainless steel. You're right, I am a broken record.
  • A wire rack or wooden cutting board to drain jars and cool the finished product.
First, wash your jars, pot, spoons, and funnel, making sure not to leave any soapy residue. Then sterilize your jars by bringing them to a rolling boil and letting them swim in the boiling water for 10 minutes or so. I throw my funnel, ladle, and spoon in the pot for good measure. You can never be too clean when canning. Leave everything in the water until you are closer to using them.

Next measure your juice. Never be tempted to cook over 4 cups at a time unless you have an enormous shallow pot and a commercial stove. Experience speaks here!! Four cups of juice does not look like much in a big pot, but once sugar and heat are added the concoction expands. Plus, difficulty maintaining even heat throughout the pot without stirring adds further chaos to an overfilled pot.

Start heating the juice. When it simmers for about 5 minutes, skim off any frothy stuff that forms, then add the appropriate amount of sugar for the fruit. Start with amounts suggested in the Ball Blue Book or The Joy of Cooking. You can adjust to suit your taste or the ripeness of your fruit. Today, I used 3/4 cup sugar for every cup of juice. We like tart jelly and most of these plums were completely ripe.

Once the sugar is added stir using your stainless steel spoon until all the sugar is melted. Then raise the temperature and boil. Resist the temptation to stir now. It is fine to occasionally run the spoon around the bottom of the pan, but don't overdo it. Insert your thermometer, if you are using one. Don't leave the room! Again, experience speaks. You really only need to be making jelly when you are making jelly. Now is not the time for multi-tasking.

Watch and listen to the pot boiling as you watch your thermometer and you will only need a thermometer once. At first the juice/sugar mixture will expand until it looks as if it will erupt out of the pot. The surface will be covered with tiny bubbles (the second picture) and you will hear a faint and fast plip plip plip plip. As the mix is getting close to the gel stage (which is around 220 by the thermometer), the juice appears to shrink back into itself and the sound changes to a deeper, larger bubbled sound. Remove your jars and tools. Drain them on the rack. Insert your lids or gaskets in the hot (not boiling) water. When the juice takes on a thicker consistency and the bubbles make a slower gbluup, gbluup, gbluup, remove the pot from the fire. The jelly will quickly settle. Skim off any foam (lighter colored scummy stuff), then pour or ladle into jars. Apply the lids.

Many people don't use a hot water bath for hot pack jellies, but it makes me feel better to make sure I am not creating a petri dish in my pantry. Once the jars come to a boil and remain there 5 minutes, remove the pot from the fire and then set the jars out on the rack to cool. Listen for the pop of the jar sealing or watch for the tongue to droop.

You now should have Blue Ribbon worthy jelly.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

And the Jelly Bag Hangs

Plums are ripe which means jelly making. This is one fruit that I go to the trouble to make jelly and not jam. The jars of crystal clear, ruby jelly are so beautiful that I waste the pulp. O.K., I don't really waste it since I give it to the chickens and compost pile. They seem to like mushy cooked plum leftovers. I imagine that the jelly bag will remain in that position for several days, even though I didn't have plums of my own this year. In the past couple of days I've had acquaintances and neighbors bringing plums. Plum jelly is my family's absolute favorite, Last year, I only made two jars because I didn't have plums for more, but I mentioned the lack of plums and jelly shortage to a few people.

The few people have remembered and now the whole town appears to be bringing plums that would otherwise be wasted. One man brought a bag saying, "I brought these for your children." They ate plenty, but then I took the rest for jelly. As I was getting ready to cook them, another friend brought a basket. Another woman told me I could come pick. I will. By the time I finish with the plums the blackberries should be ripe.

Let The Summer Canning Games begin!!!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Fence Sitting

I find that I do a lot of proverbial fence sitting. I am perched on the narrow board between two worlds most of the time.

I moved back to Mississippi so I could stay home with my children, but when I got here I was lured into working by well meaning and needy family members and work has escalated from there. Now, I precariously balance school, the house, the farm, and work. I long for time to play, without educational motivation, with my children, yet I truly enjoy my work.

I truly believe in eating local foods that are sustainably grown, yet I want the convenience and ease of all those off season fruits and vegetables and pre-made foods available at grocery stores. Sometimes, I just get tired of the effort involved in producing everything we eat so we eat some garbage that I later feel embarrassed for eating or serving. If we lived in a less rural and more educated area there would be farmers' markets and whole food stores. There would even be restaurants that serve food you could trust. But, in order to live small and have land on which the children can freely roam, you must live in a rural place. So, here I sit wanting to eat and serve sustainable, locally grown foods without doing all the work. The fence is increasingly uncomfortable.

I want to live a small, sustainable life, but I can't seem to quit wanting stuff. Trained to maintain a household in the greedy 80's and 90's, I just can't seem to stop wanting five different china patterns and thousands of books. I even have a problem with homeschool curriculum and accessories. Do we need all this? NO! Does this stuff make our life better? NO!! So, why am I unable to let go and embrace a simple life where living small can help me focus on real needs and free me from the cycle of materialism that keeps me lashed to work.

I know. I know. By making small changes, I can move in the right direction. But, it's not that simple. We moved to the farm a few years ago. Much work has been done to restore the fences, house, gates, and orchard. All that stuff took, and is still taking, money. We had to work. The farm provides little income. In fact, we give away more eggs, vegetables, and honey than we sell. True, the cows produce income. True, the eggs, chicken, beef, vegetables, and honey are produced for our consumption. But, also true is the effort involved in producing these items. Also true is that we are not really any closer to living off the land than we were when we moved to the farm.

So, here I sit - straddling the fence between two worlds - feeling frustrated, torn, and tired.